France tells Libya rebels to seek peace with Gaddafi
A French minister said on Sunday it was time for Libya’s rebels to negotiate with Muammar Gaddafi’s government, but Washington said it stood firm in its belief that the Libyan leader cannot stay in power.
The diverging messages from two leading members of the Western coalition opposing Gaddafi hinted at the strain the alliance is under after more than three months of air strikes that have cost billions of dollars and failed to produce the swift outcome its backers had expected.
French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet signaled growing impatience with the progress of the conflict when he said the rebels should negotiate now with Gaddafi’s government and not wait for his defeat.
The rebels have so far refused to hold talks as long as Gaddafi is still in power, a stance which before now none of NATO’s major powers has publicly challenged.